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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 3, 2024.

What is gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that causes severe joint pain and stiffness. Acute gout pain starts suddenly, gets worse quickly, and stops on its own. Acute gout can become chronic and cause permanent damage to your joints.

What causes gout?

Gout develops when uric acid builds up in your joints. Uric acid is made when your body breaks down purines. Purines are found in some medicines and foods. Your body gets rid of most uric acid through your urine. When your body cannot get rid of enough uric acid, it can build up and form crystals in your joints. The crystals cause your joints to become swollen and painful. This is called a gout attack.

What increases my risk for gout?

You may have been born with a decreased ability to break down and get rid of purines. Your body's ability to break down purines may be very slow. Gout is more common in men than in women. Any of the following can also increase your risk:

What are the stages of gout?

How is gout diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your medicines, health problems, and allergies. Tell him or her when your joint pain and swelling started. He or she will need to know if the swelling and pain were worst within 1 day or if got worse over time. He or she will check the skin over your joints for redness. You may also need any of the following:

How is gout treated?

The following can make your symptoms stop sooner, prevent attacks, and decrease your risk for joint damage:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I manage my symptoms?


How can I help prevent gout attacks?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.